By Francesca Iwambe
The race to buy Manchester United enters a crucial stage on Wednesday as bidders face a deadline to submit improved offers for the Premier League giants.
There are reported to be several other groups whose interest in United has remained private throughout a bidding war which has intensified this week.
Elliott Investment Management reportedly made it through to the second stage of the process, although the firm is believed to be offering funding to United owners, the Glazer family, rather than a takeover.
Those who want to buy United have to declare their offer to Raine, the merchant bank brought in to assist the club, by 2100 GMT on Wednesday.
At least six bids, possibly rising to eight, are expected to be submitted, with those comprised of offers for full control as well as smaller stakes in United.
The Glazers have reportedly set a £6 billion ($7.3 billion) figure for their valuation of a club they bought for £750 million in a highly-leveraged deal in 2005.
The initial offers for United last month were believed to have been worth around £4.5 billion.
That would surpass the Premier League record £4.25 billion paid for Chelsea by a consortium fronted by American Todd Boehly last year.
Sheikh Jassim is reported to be ready to submit a second indicative bid before the cut-off.
However, INEOS chemical company founder Ratcliffe, a boyhood United fan, has been more circumspect in his assessment of the process, insisting he will not pay a “stupid” price as the bidding war for one of football's most iconic clubs increases.